¥ All the characters belong to J.K. Rowling. I don't own anything you recognize.

Summary: Sometimes love hides itself so deep in the shadows, we find it just when we're suddenly facing the darkness. After an incident during the summer break, Remus Lupin appears to Pansy Parkinson in different light.

Moonflower

Chapter 1     -Moonlight beneath the waves-

The cool water brushed smoothly across her skin as she glided through the moonlit river's glittering waves. Pansy Parkinson was happy to be all by herself like this for a change. She drew in a deep breath and dived down into the turquoise waters.

Silvery moonlight was all around her. It shone easily through the clear water and flickered mysteriously across the coarse, white gravel on the river's sandy bottom. It was an odd, dreamlike atmosphere.

She loved swimming in the river at night. She felt free and alive outside in this quiet place in the woods. And when swimming in the river, she felt like a fish in the water – literally.

It was her escape from a world of compulsion and gave her the peace and happiness, she was missing in her life.

Some strands of fluxweed brushed lazily across her ankle. She dived further down to glide through the green-shimmering wood beneath the waves and closed her eyes. The plants' many strands shifted in the stream and brushed across her marble-white, smooth skin like caressing fingers. Her long, silky, raven-black hair floated like a cloak around her.

This was her favourite place – if she only wouldn't have to come up for air between. Reluctantly, she left the green tunnel behind and moved up towards the source of brightness above the waves again.

The warm summer night's air hit her with all its richness of scents. It smelled pleasantly of pine woods and resin, wild flowers and dry summer grass. There was the permanent, intense sound of crickets in the wild weeds on the river's embankments.

It was late August already. In less than two days, she would be off for another year at Hogwarts again. She could hardly believe it was her seventh, her final year. Time seemed to have passed so quickly.

With another deep intake of breath she dived again and once more, she was surrounded by calming silence. Smiling, she turned onto her back to have a look at the world from the fishes' perspective.     

It was always a good thing to watch things from out of a different perspective if one needed to sort out some thoughts. At least this had been her grandma's advice, when she had been upset as a child.

"Go and climb up a tree, little Pansy. Have a look at the world from out of the green cave of its leaves. A different perspective will bring different light to things, Deary," she had said and for some reason this had helped her to clear lots of things. She hadn't climbed any tree for several years – her mother would probably go nuts, if she'd caught her up there now.

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She grinned. Once, at the age of five, she had persuaded Draco to climb onto the old ash-tree by the house with her. He hadn't been very fond of that idea though, and while she had easily succeeded in climbing down again, Draco had to be transported magically to the ground by his father. Lucius Malfoy had been infuriated at the sight of his son sitting high up in the branches of a tree in his best robes, dusty and ripped, crying at the top of his lungs and the obnoxious little girl dancing around the lawn beneath him in equally ruined robes.

Her parents hadn't been very pleased either.

The two miscreants had been sent straight up to her chambers for the evening, after a harsh lecture not to behave like common brats. Her grandma had just chuckled and sent one of the house elves to serve them dinner up there without her parents' notice. They had had so much fun back then.

Still gliding along beneath the water's surface, she smiled at the memory. All she could recognize at the moment was the huge, round shape of the full moon that shone bright and clear onto the river and the world above.

With a sigh, she came up for air again and this time, she swam towards the large, half-round rock that reached far into the water.

In spring, when melted snow filled the river up to its borders and changed it into a rough, wild-floating stream, this rock was constantly polished by the waters and with the years its surface had become all smooth and clean. Right now, in late August, the tidemark was far lower and the rock towered amid the water. The stone was smooth and still pleasantly warm from the day's heat.    

Pansy climbed her favourite place and drew her knees to her chest.

Thoughtfully, she contemplated the peaceful landscape. The moon seemed to be close enough to reach for it. It was big and bright and had a beautiful reddish tone.

Briefly she wondered, if Draco might be looking at the moon right now, too.

But thinking about Draco wasn't as pleasant as usual anymore. She was supposed to marry him after they graduated. And suddenly this date occurred worryingly close to her. Of course, they had always known about their parents' plans for them. Arranged marriages where still quite a common habit in the wizarding world - At least among the old, pureblood families - And the Malfoys where undoubtedly of just as old wizarding inheritance as the Parkinsons.

Draco didn't look bad at all, with his silvery-blond hair and those characteristic Malfoy-features. He was tall and lean and during their first years at Hogwarts, she had been quite fond of him and of the idea to become his wife one day.

It certainly held a lot of advantages, she couldn't deny that. Half of the Slytherin girls envied her for the status she would have in the wizarding world as his wife, not to mention the Malfoy fortunes. And their Manor was even larger than her family's Mansion.

But for some reason, she wasn't sure if all that would be enough for her. There had to be something else. And now her dear grandma wasn't there to give her advice anymore. She missed her a lot.

If she only could have talked to her mother about this. But all she had responded was that Lucius Malfoy was a close friend of her father and that she should be grateful for the lucky arrangement.

She sighed once more. She certainly shouldn't complain. At least she knew Draco since their childhood.

But he had changed so much. He had always enjoyed his nasty little ideas to torment others, mostly weaker ones, but in some way, he had become really evil over the last year. Not around her. He was always polite and civil to her  and since she had changed from a 'pug-faced' little girl into a rather pretty young woman, he had even become quite fond of her, but if she thought of the way he treated most other people and what he said about them, it was kind of worrying. Maybe he wouldn't always act around her like he did now.

Just back this morning, she had received a letter from him. It had been firm and polite as usual, but had contained some rather surprising news.

Once again the Defence Against The Dark Arts teacher had quitted his job by the end of term and Lucius Malfoy, who belonged once again to the schools' governors had told his son that no other than Remus Lupin would get the post. This was in more than one way surprising news. After all, Lupin had already taught that subject back in their third year, but when his dark secret had been revealed, he had had to give up the position.

Remus Lupin was a Werewolf. And most parents hadn't appreciated the fact that he was teaching their children.

Even Dumbledore had had to give in at that pressure and Professor Lupin had left Hogwarts. They hadn't heard or seen a bit of him during the last three years. But now he was coming back to teach and Draco planned to start a lot of trouble about this. Dumbledore, the old fool, would be sorry to have given that mangy Werewolf another chance, he had written. And somehow, she didn't doubt he would be successful in his plan.

But if she was honest with herself, she wasn't really interested in this at all. She had other things to keep her mind busy at the moment.

How much she would have appreciated her grandma's advice now, that she felt all confused about the drastic changes her life would take so very soon.

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Well those thoughts wouldn't do her any good right now. At the moment all they had got her was to be bitten by some blood-thirsty beasts. Frowning, she scratched the itching gnat-bite at her left knee and shooed away some more exemplars of that nasty plague.

The moon had come far around in her circle by now.

It had to be long past midnight and she had better head back to her chambers now, if she didn't want to risk any trouble. 

Reluctantly, she glided back into the water. It was cool and refreshing after sitting in the thick summer night's air for so long and it had a calming effect at the itching gnat-bite at her knee.

With powerful movements she swam across the river, towards the place where she had left her robes at its bank. Hopefully there wouldn't be any ants in her clothing once again. She still shook with disgust at that memory, while she climbed the embankment and headed for the edge of the wood. Some fir-needles were tickling and stitching slightly under her feet. 

She had just finished to slip her panties on, when she had the feeling of being watched for the first time.

Carefully she glanced around, but couldn't spot anybody.

It was a weird sensation to stand in nothing but her panties with the feeling of someone watching her from out of hiding. All the little hairs on the back of her neck stood on end by it. Hastily she dragged the dark-blue shirt, she wore beneath her robes, above her head and whirled around. She was sure to have heard some noise now.   

There was something hiding in the undergrowth close by.

As bright as the moonlight might be glittering on the water, it wasn't able to reach into the darkness between the fir-wood. But that wasn't all. Something darker than the shadows seemed to lurk over there between the trunks. Fearfully, she stared into the place where the slight noise had originated.

There was something else; the frightening noise of little twigs breaking beneath somebody's steps and the rustling of dry leaves from the previous year. But she could strain her eyes as much as she pleased, all she could recognize were shadows and darkness.  

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The fir-wood, the darkest of all woods, whose thick branches didn't allow any moonbeam to pass, enfolded its shadows around her as soon as she took the first hesitating steps between its mighty trunks. She had to cross this forest to get to her home, which towered on a cliff high above the river.

A low dangerous growling sound caused the hairs on the back of her neck to stand on end.

When she threw a frightened glance back over her shoulder, she could recognize a pair of lamp-like, yellowish eyes quite a bit above the ground.

Whatever this was, it must be tall. And it was most certainly not human. Even the gasp of fear died in her throat as she whirled around and stormed blindly into the depth of the forest.

To her very horror, the thing followed.

She could hear its steps on the dry leaves and little twigs that covered the forest's ground getting steadily quicker. It was then that she broke into a full out run.  

She could hardly recognize the narrow path that led up to her home. In her panic, she tripped over some roots that reached into the path and stumbled, frantically gripping for any hold she could get. Fir-twigs whipped across her face.

She must have missed the right direction in her stumbling. Thick undergrowth and bushes of bramble blocked her way all of a sudden. Sharp angled, bare twigs at the lower part of the fir-trunks ripped the cloth of her shirt in several places and tugged painfully at her long, still wet hair. Her bare feet hurt from the roots and thorns she had accidentally stepped onto.    

The ground lead upwards at a high angle by now and her legs got more tired with every step.

But she moved onward, nonetheless.

The beast still followed and it was definitely close. She could hear its rushed breath in her back. When a strand of her hair got caught in a twig, she was dragged back all of a sudden and almost fell. Panic-stricken, she tugged and ripped at the strand, but couldn't free herself and the beast got steadily closer.

Her sight blurred from hot tears of desperation, when she tried to get free. Would this be going to be the way, she would die - ripped apart by some ravenous, yellow-eyed beast in the dark of the night, she wondered.

It probably was. She could already hear its growling and rushed breathing close behind her.  With a few last, flexible jumps, it crossed the remaining distance between them. Large paws tripped across her back and pushed her to the ground. A sharp pain made her cry out. Razor sharp teeth sank into a spot close to her left shoulder-blade. Paw-claws scratched down her legs.

With a sharp cracking noise, the twig that held her hair broke and she fell flat onto her stomach. This was her chance. Frantically she crawled through the thick undergrowth and bushes of bramble.

Growling furiously, the beast tried to follow. It was far too big to get beneath the bush in this place and had to search for a gap between the bramble, but it would certainly find one soon.

She couldn't rest, nor could she check on the wound in her back right now. Trembling with fear, she got to her feet and continued her flight.

The ground lead steadily upwards.

Warm and sticky the blood run down her back and made the shirt clung to her skin. There were several bleeding scratches on her legs, too. She could hardly step onto her right foot. Her breath was ragged and uneven and her lungs felt like berthing, but she still ran on.

It was her only chance.

This beast, whatever it was, would kill her if it hunted her down.

She noticed a small area of light in the distance ahead. Filled with hope, she tried to force her legs to move faster. If this was the edge of the forest - If she made it till there - Maybe the beast wouldn't follow her into the open -

Desperately she stumbled forward, her view blurred with tears and exhaustion. Dark spots started dancing in front of her eyes. She could only pray that she wouldn't pass out.

The ground became rocky and uneven now and her bare feet were tripping painfully over a number of stones. Her knee slammed against a rock, when she climbed a vertical part.

Trembling from exhaustion, she climbed over the edge and found herself laying on a kind of plateau, surrounded by moonlight.

Panting she lifted herself up to her knees and glanced around.

Right in front of her the boulder rose upwards several meters. Impossible to climb up there – To her right, an abyss was yawning – not an option either. What left just the fir-wood to her left, where the beast was still searching for her.    

As bad as this possibility might occur to her, she didn't have much choice. Maybe she could hide somewhere – or climb a tree –

She had barely turned towards the forest again, when her eyes caught sight of something big and greyish lurking between the trunks.

It had found her -

She was trapped. 

At first sight, it looked like a very big dog or wolf, but when it fully stepped into the light, her eyes widened with shock. This - was no dog. It wasn't a wolf either  –

It was Werewolf -

His fur was of dark grey colour and at close range, his eyes weren't yellow, but very light amber.

Fearfully, she backed away until she reached the edge of the cliff.

With a low, dangerous growl, the werewolf ducked and prepared to attack. His fur was standing on end and a murderous gleaming reflected in his eyes. Sure of his prey, he bared his teeth. She could recognize some of her blood on his snout.

In panic she whirled around and starred into the yawning abyss. The river's waters were gurgling far down beneath her. There was just one chance – pinching her eyes shut, she stepped forward.

A/N: What do you think? Weird pairing once again, I know. But somehow I like Pansy. 

Thanks to SilentG for revising the chapter.

Serpentina